In the clutter of saas-bahu-driven shows during prime time on general entertainment channels, there is at least one show, which stands out as a differentiated offering. Astitva - Ek Prem Kahani, which replaced Love Marriage on ZEE TV last year, has emerged as the channel's trump card in its efforts at trying to offer a varied mix.
Devoid of overt melodrama, the show tries to be "real and believable" with the plotline free of unnecessary twists and turns. In the soap, 37-year old Simran, a qualified doctor marries Abhimanyu, a photographer many years her junior and soon realises that her husband is cheating her even as she endures a not-so-easy pregnancy to deliver a baby girl named Aastha, prematurely.
If such a scenario would indicate mayhem on rival soaps or serials, Astitva has endeared itself with the audiences for its mature treatment of a subject intensely personal and delicate. Directed by Ajai Sinha who has the popular Hasratein (telecast a few years ago on ZEE) and the recent Justajoo to his credit, Astitva, like its predecessors hinges, on a sensitive portrayal of the man-woman relationship. No clanging of temple bells or flinging of sindoor and mangalsutra, as Apurva Purohit, president, ZEE TV, points out. "It stands out in storyline and treatment. Besides, the characterisation is not uni-dimensional but well-rounded."
At a subliminal level, she says, women want to see an aspirational role model who is relatable at the same time. "We commissioned Third Eye (research agency) to conduct a qualitative study among women regarding their preferences and tastes and what emerged is that there are two types of viewers - the woman with a traditional mindset and the one who is an explorer. The explorer has a modern outlook to life, tries out newer brands, works out at a gym, and so on. She may be a working woman or a housewife but the point is that she is not bogged down by tradition. Such women are dominant viewers of ZEE TV."
When translated into numbers, the channel has been averaging good scores among women 25-years and above, SEC ABC, while in the base cable and satellite population of four plus, GRPs or gross rating points have seen an upswing, Purohit claims. According to figures produced by the channel, weekly GRPs of ZEE in the crucial markets of Mumbai and Delhi in the week 33 (August 10-16) stood at 244 and 289, which is higher than Sony's figures at 225 and 248 respectively. (Target Audience: C&S 4-plus.)
The channel performed even better in the core group of women, 25 years and above, SEC ABC. For week 33, ZEE TV's GRPs stood at 285 and 381 in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi, while Sony's figures stood at 245 and 249 in these two markets.
Channel-share wise, ZEE TV is higher than Sony in the base population of C&S 4-plus in week 33, standing at 6.4 per cent and 9.2 per cent to Sony's 5.9 per cent and 7.9 per cent in the metros of Mumbai and Delhi. Among women, 25 years and above, SEC ABC, Monday to Thursday, the gap is quite pronounced. ZEE's channel share in Mumbai and Delhi is 6.4 per cent and 7.2 per cent, to Sony's 3.9 per cent and 5.2 per cent respectively.
"We want to be different but not by veering into some other territory altogether," says Purohit. "The idea is to have a differentiated offering with a clear mass appeal." © 2003 agencyfaqs!